“If they didn’t tell you…”

“Shut up, Leon!” I said, picking him up by his head with one hand. He really was scrawny.

“Put me down!” he began to whine. When he started to kick, I let him go.

He pulled out his puny dagger and waved it around a bit in my face. It was the sword the elders gave him last week when he turned ten. He couldn’t really hurt anyone with it but he could skin a deer. He would probably set the whole lodge on fire and be banished from the clan before he ever got a real sword on his fifteenth birthday.

Waving it around, he proclaimed, “I will use it, Salim! Don’t think I won’t!” He was dancing around like a hyperactive chipmunk.

“What were you doing up here?”

“Thinking…” he responded, not so merrily as before.

“So… what were you thinking about? Was is it about what you were supposed to tell me?”

“Oh! Well…” he began to stall. Then he continued with complete sincerity, a trait that seemed out of place with Leon, “you’ve been banished from the clan!”

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